Wednesday, February 04, 2015

A new flag for Fiji?

from w
Go to  for a look at the various flags of the Pacific and see the colonial influence.  Fiji's flag is really old-fashioned and the plan of Fiji government is to have a competition to find a new design. Of course there are rather mixed motives in all of this.  Kirstie has written an article about her thoughts on the subject. Go to
I'd like to see a change - maybe think of sea and sky and the reef,  or a curve of shore and an island. We don't need the Union Jack, the shield.

From Kirstie CLOSE-BARRY:
Fiji’s newly elected prime minister and one-time coup leader Frank Bainimarama has taken another step towards implementing a vision for a new unified Fiji with the announcement that the nation’s flag will bechanged by October this year, in time for the 45th anniversary of Fiji’s independence. It’s a move made as part of his response to continuing ethnic and religious division in the Pacific island state.
The nation is dominated by two significant communities: Indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians. The latter, mostly Hindu or Muslim, were marginalised throughout the colonial period and again during the coups staged over the past 30 years. Bainimarama has tried to label all citizens as “Fijian” in the of hope of promoting inclusiveness. Creating a new flag is part of his plan to embed a sense of unity, as well as a bid to cement the legitimacy and authority of his government.
Bainimarama has framed the flag change as an effort to break free of the shackles of Fiji’s colonial past. The flag that has existed since 1970 features the Union Jack – a nod to the British monarchy’s role in governing the islands from 1874 to 1970.

The colours, the shield and the dove of peace were, however, also on flags flown by the self-proclaimed supreme chief and king, Ratu Cakobau, in around 1870. That the British allowed the flag to retain some of these features, and that they were used in the flag of independent Fiji, reflect a continuation of the chiefly authority of Indigenous Fijians. 
Bainimarama’s idea then is not merely to move away from Fiji’s colonial past but also to break down chiefly power – the source of his greatest opposition. This extends on actions he’s already taken, through the dismantling of the great council of chiefs, for example.
His opposition to chiefly authority is in part due to the perception that celebrating it only further deepens ethnic rifts. He angered many when he implemented a new constitution in 2009 in which there is no distinction made between the Indigenous and Indo-Fijian communities: all are considered equally Fijian.
It is not just those with chiefly heritage who see this as a threat to Indigenous rights, particularly land title. It is also, as Bainimarama said in his announcement, significant that the flag announcement was made at Nasinu, near to the government buildings but also close to the military barracks from where his own 2006 coup and Major General Sitiveni Rabuka’s coup in 1987 received support. Bainimarama’s connections to the military are therefore still significant, despite renouncing his military rank.

Bainimarama has invited public .

This design reflects Fiji’s shifting gaze away from the Commonwealth nations towards Asia, but the topic of discussion places it in step with debates among these close neighbours. New Zealand intends to hold a referendum (a process Bainimarama will not follow) in 2016 on whether to swap the Union Jack for the silver fern. Australians are also constantly revisiting the Republican debate through questions about replacing the flag. Fiji is following regional trends while still in the process of mending relationships with Australia and New Zealand that were harmed by the 2006 coup.
The decision has provoked a mixed response: some see it as a necessary step forward, other see it as abstract and secondary to the real issues that face many Fijians day today. The frequent water and electricity cuts are a problem, and while the official unemployment rate is around 8%, approximately 45% of the community is living below the poverty line. Bainimarama is playing one tune to unite the people of Fiji but whether they choose to play along with him is another question all together.
And who designed the current flag?  Tessa?

Designer relives Fiji flag competition

Atasa Moceituba
Thursday, February 05, 2015
A FEW months after her husband was offered a new post in Fiji in 1970, the flag competition was introduced where interested candidates were given a chance to design and give in their ideas on how they wanted the Fiji flag to look.
As for Tessa Mackenzie, she was 36 years old at that time and was a volunteer teacher at Veiuto Primary School.
She said the decision to take part in the flag competition arose after her two sons — eight-year-old Robert and her youngest son Christopher who was only five at that time — begged their mother if they could also participate in the flag competition.
Mrs Mackenzie said this was where the whole creativity and the desire to design the flag started.
"When it came to the design of the flag, it was actually going quite fast. Quite a lot of people entered the competition," she recalled.
"While making the flag, my husband and I realised that whatever we make, it should be relevant for everybody because for me, it was something that was meaningful and relevant for everybody so my husband (Murray Mackenzie) went and consulted other people on how we could design our flag and use some of their ideas."
She said the Fiji flag had connections with Great Britain.
"The coat of arms has been with us for about 100 years now and the Government use it on every document and I don't think we have to take the whole of it or the whole thing away."
She said there had been also some misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the flag.
"The shield is a heroic design and you have to conform to certain rules and regulations. We designed something that consults with heroic rules.
"The three agricultural products, people use them everyday — coconut, banana, sugar and they are (part of our) economy.
"Though we can fall back on them always. When I designed the flag, bananas were a great export.
"The dove, that was a nice link giving the iTaukei, the Fijian community, just a little something special for them.
"We did not really design that but we felt that yes, this is appropriate. As for the lion, it's not a British Lion, there's no lion in Britain. It's a heraldic lion and it's a symbol of power.
"The pale blue represents the ocean, the Pacific Ocean.
"If they are going to change it, I just hope that they are going to change it to something suitable and let's not be too much like other people's flag because when you look at most of the flags in the world, so many of them are messy."

No comments: